Distinctions


From Daniel Henninger:

I thought 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night in Washington was the Republican Party’s finest hour in a long time. When the voting stopped, the screen said the number of Republicans voting for Mr. Obama’s bill was zero. Not one. Nobody.

Pristine opposition is being spun as a Republican liability. It looks to me like a Republican resurrection. The party hasn’t yet discovered what it should be, but this clearly was a party discovering what it cannot be.

Put it this way: If you produce a bill that Olympia Snowe of Maine cannot vote for, you have not produced legislation “for the generations.” You have not even produced legislation that is liberal. You have produced legislation from the left. You have produced once-in-a-lifetime legislation that no Republican from any constituency across America could vote for.

Finally, we are achieving real political definition.

The Democrats are now the party of the state. The 20th century hybrid version of the Democratic Party, which included private-sector industrial unions and Wall Street liberals, is being abandoned by its leadership as unwanted and increasingly unnecessary.

[…]

Liberals in the private sector have to come to grips with the fact that what they do for a living is an abstraction to the people they are sending to Washington. Nobody at the top of the party is much interested in them anymore. House and Senate Democrats hammered insurance, pharma and medical-device makers with taxes and intimidation. It wasn’t just politics. It was belief. With this bill, the party made the transition from market unionism to Alinskyism, from a politics tempered by the marketplace to one that milks the marketplace.

By default more than design, the Republicans now find themselves the party of the private economy. Their members, even in faraway Maine, should figure out how to align themselves with the interests of what is still the world’s most dynamic economy.

The GOP is being counseled to abandon its morning-after impulse to “repeal the bill.” Why do that? This is the first honest emotion the party has had in years. Yes, technical repeal isn’t remotely possible until after 2012. But “Repeal!” is a terrific bumper sticker and campaign slogan for our times. Repeal! ObamaCare is just a start. Can’t repeal the bill yet? Drive people to November’s polls to repeal the Democratic Party and what it has turned into.

On Monday morning, the Service Employees International’s Andy Stern, a big winner, said, “This is not a bad debate to have.” He’s right, and on Sunday the Republican Party found its footing to have that debate. It lost a battle, but with its total rejection of this huge entitlement, it also lost its spendthrift reputation. Now its members need to think hard about an answer for their own good question, What kind of country do we want?

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